New Volunteer: Terry Schiavone

Hello, fellow LHRT members! Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to  LHRT News and Notes. I look forward to and excited for being part of such an awesome group.  

I first discovered LHRT when a library colleague suggested that I join because of my interest and educational background in history. As a student at San Jose State University’s iSchool program, the opportunity to work with the blog team and enhance my knowledge of library history is indispensable. Currently I work as a content editor for the Student Research Journal, which expounds scholarly communications and editorial production that give me a sense of the peer-review process. In addition, I write book reviews for Libraries: culture, history, and society with my first published recently. As a student volunteer for LHRT News and Notes my goals are to share and contribute to the site’s burgeoning library history related content. I intend to interview library historians and occasionally send out listings of library history related primary sources freely available on the web.   

I currently work at Penn State University Libraries as a digital processing specialist in the Preservation, Conservation, and Digitization Department. Starting in the department as a part time employee offered me experience in an academic library environment. Although my position does not The department and library as a whole provided the encouragement and resources to pursue a M.L.I.S and further develop my love for history in context of libraries. Prior to Penn State, I worked for Amazon distribution from 2011-2016. I wrap up my M.L.I.S degree from San Jose State University in the Spring. In the recent past I completed degrees in American history from Wilkes and West Chester Universities. I thoroughly enjoy my experience and the resources on offer at Penn State. I consider the work I and the department does exceptionally valuable not only for the Penn State community, but the wider research community as we make more of the special collections materials digitally accessible to faculty, students, and patrons. 

Lastly, in my spare time I have a few hobbies that include not surprisingly reading as well as scale model painting, photography, traveling to historic sites (mainly Civil War battlefields), baking and cooking, and the occasional brewery or distillery tour.  

New Volunteer: Natalie Romano

Hello, fellow library history enthusiasts! Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to LHRT News and Notes. A special thanks to Brett for kicking off our introductions. I am thrilled to be part of this fantastic group!

I was excited to find the LHRT while renewing my ALA membership this year. What excites me about the LHRT is the opportunity to learn from library historians and scholars who work to preserve the collective memory of our profession and to celebrate librarians who work to create positive change in their communities. As a volunteer LHRT News and Notes editor and contributor, I’ll manage the LHRT Twitter account (coming soon) and work on updating the blog’s appearance and organizational structure. I’m looking forward to reading and publishing submissions from library school students, librarians, and scholars who are passionate about the history of our cherished institutions.

I am currently a librarian at the Decker branch of the Denver Public Library, a position I’ve held since 2013. Decker is a Carnegie library (we turn 106 this year), so I actually get to work inside a piece of library history every day! Prior to my work at DPL, I worked for the Colorado Supreme Court Library and the Penrose Library at the University of Denver. I received my MLIS from the University of Denver in 2011 and fell in love with public library work while volunteering after library school. My favorite part about working in public libraries is the opportunity to serve people from all walks of life, especially children and families. As a branch librarian, I get to do a little bit of everything: storytime, manage budgets, work the reference desk, and plan our summer programming. I feel very fortunate to be part of this library community.

My professional interests include historical children’s literature, picture book art, public library management, and of course, library history. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, running, cooking, and visiting libraries of all kinds.

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Visiting the Folger Shakespeare Library, November 2018 

 

Library History Round Table Meetings and Programs Annual Conference Sessions: ALA Orlando, 2016

LHRT Executive Board Meeting

6/26/2016, 8:30AM – 10:00AM, HYATT – Columbia 37

Business meeting for the Library History Round Table.  Agenda forthcoming

 LHRT Edward G. Holley Memorial Lecture

“History, Childhood, Memory, and Imagination”

6/26/16   10:30AM – 11:30AM, HYATT – Barrel Springs I

John Cech, Director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature & Culture at the University of Florida, will share insights from a lifetime researching children’s literature in his talk entitled “History, Childhood, Memory, and Imagination”.  Professor Cech was the Producer and Host of the Public Radio program, “Recess!,” (1998–2007). He is the author of Imagination and Innovation: The Story of Weston WoodsAngels and Wild Things; The Archetypal Poetics of Maurice Sendak, and the editor of American Writers for Children, 1900–1960.

 LHRT Research Forum

“History of Reading and Readers in Libraries”

6/26/2016, 1:00PM – 2:30PM, HYATT – Bayhill 27

  • Amy Breimaier:  Caleb Bingham’s Vision for America: A Case Study of the
    Youth’s Library 1806 Catalogue
  • Mary Carroll:  Exiled and isolated: Libraries in the early penal
    settlements of Van Dieman’s Land
  • Dr. Emily Knox:   “Dirty” Materials Out of Place: Inappropriate Books and
    Social Classification
  • Brian Shetler: “Never Read Any But Famed Books”: 19th Century Libraries
    and the Middlebrow Reader

2016 Midwinter field trip to the Boston Athenaeum

The LHRT and RUSA HS are co-sponsoring a Midwinter meetup to tour the Boston Athenaeum, one of the oldest independent libraries in the U.S.  The Athenaeum’s collections comprise over half a million volumes, with particular strengths in Boston history, New England state and local history, biography, English and American literature, and the fine and decorative arts.  The Athenaeum building was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1966. 

 When:  Saturday, January 9, 10-11:15am

Where:  Boston Athenaeum, 10-1/2 Beacon Street, in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston

https://www.bostonathenaeum.org/

RSVP:  By January 1 at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rusa-hslhrt-midwinter-tour-of-the-boston-athenaeum-tickets-19991443947

Note: The tour is capped at 20 attendees.  To complete your RSVP, please also submit payment by Paypal to baildon@rocketmail.com for the $5 tour fee.

 The  Athenaeum is within walking distance of public transit as well as the Omni Parker House Hotel/shuttle Route 2.

 Feel free to contact Michelle at baildon@mit.edu with any questions.

Reflections on the Library History Seminar XIII – Megan Browndorf

Megan Browndorf received a travel grant from LHRT to attend and present at the Library History Seminar XIII at Simmons College that was held from July 31 – August 2, 2015. The theme of the conference was Libraries: Traditions and Innovations.

Ms. Browndorf is a Research and Instruction Librarian at the Albert S. Cook Library at Towson University where she serves as library liaison to the Department of History. She agreed to provide an account of her time at the Library History Seminar XIII.

Congratulations, Megan, on the travel grant and thank you for sharing your experience at the Seminar.


The last time that I had taken a train any considerable distance, I was travelling through the Carpathians into Ukraine. Aptly, this time, I rolled up the East Coast to Boston to present research on Ukrainian library history. With a background in East European studies and as a working librarian, I was unsure what to expect from a library history conference. My verdict is overwhelmingly positive. With apologies to all past conferences I’ve attended, this was possibly the first conference where there was no session I regretted attending. I am grateful for the opportunity LHRT gave me as an early-career librarian to dip my toe into this fascinating library history community.

The keynotes book-ended a two day exploration on “Libraries: Traditions and Innovations” with Ann Blair’s opening keynote on traditions and David Weinberger’s closing keynote on innovation. But truly, these two keynotes did not differ that significantly. Ann Blair’s “Libraries as Sites of Discovery” built the library as a place that long served to gather, study, and display materials. In his “Future Matters” David Weinberger argued that libraries must become more involved in meaning-making and providing the tools to make this possible. Both see libraries as a place where connections happen and thus culture is constructed, expanded and explored. However the methods of fostering these connections have changed over time, must change now, and will continue to change in the future.

In the meat of the conference between these two keynotes was an image of the tensions and possibilities of change and consistency in libraries over time. I wrote nearly twice this detailing all of the sessions I wanted to share, but I unfortunately can only offer, but some examples.

The first session I attended was “Libraries in 19th century Anglo-America” whose panelists discussed gender and reading, mechanics’ institute libraries, and American circulating libraries (subscription rental libraries built on an English model). All three of these papers touched on or foregrounded class as a determining element of the user-population, procedures, and collection stock. The highlight of the next session on “Libraries in Evolution” was Matthew Connor Sullivan’s paper analyzing the rhetoric of the library as “warehouse.” Sullivan convincingly argued that the metaphor in which the storehouse stands in counterpoint to the way that libraries should be is by no means contemporary, appears cyclically, and ignores the reality that libraries do actually store books as part of their mission. The session in which I presented had two other excellent papers that looked at war as a fulcrum of change in library and reading practice. The panel following was a mix of papers considering contemporary efforts to document and safeguard the histories of diverse communities. All of these papers prioritized the role of the relevant communities in the process of creating and their own archive and developing its narrative. The first paper by Jennifer Jenkins used “tribesourcing” in the American Indian Film Gallery to allow American Indians to respond to the “voice of God” narratives that long characterized documentaries about their cultures. Rudolph Clay’s work at Washington University of Saint Louis has provided infrastructure for participants in the events following the Michael Brown shooting to share their digital media for archiving and preservation. The last panel I attended before the closing keynote was rather fittingly on “digital innovation.” The first paper explored UVA’s efforts to rebuild the original Thomas Jefferson law library from 1828 (and it is just plain cool). The second situated digitization practice in a socio-historical lineage of preservation work.

The weekend began with Ann Blair’s keynote “Libraries as Sites of Discovery” which set up a vision of the library as a place to gather, a place to display, and a place to study beginning in the medieval period. Underlying the physical place is a cultural library built upon the ideas that “no book is so bad that it shall not be kept” and that redundancy is the key to ensuring the survival of texts. After the superb keynote I had to begin making the difficult decisions about which sessions to attend, from those I only have the space here to describe a few of the highlights.

The first session I attended was “Libraries in 19th century Anglo-America” whose panelists discussed gender and reading, mechanics’ institute libraries, and American circulating libraries (subscription rental libraries built on an English model). All three of these papers touched on or foregrounded class as a determining element of the user-population, procedures, and collection stock. One tidbit I particularly enjoyed from Tom Glynn’s paper on gender and reading in NYC’s early public libraries was that libraries catering to the upper class sometimes advertised ladies-only reading rooms, but the ladies were perfectly happy mixing in the general reading rooms with the men.

The highlight of the next session on “Libraries in Evolution” was Matthew Connor Sullivan’s paper analyzing the rhetoric of the library as “warehouse.” Sullivan convincingly argued that the metaphor in which the storehouse stands in counterpoint to the way that libraries should be is by no means contemporary, appears cyclically, and ignores the reality that libraries do actually store books as part of their mission. He ultimately argues that this metaphor tells us more about the librarians employing it than the libraries which it seeks to describe.

The next day I presented my paper during a panel on “Libraries in the warring 20th century.” Mary Mooney’s work, a developing chapter of her larger dissertation, looked at how bibliotherapy developed in the interwar period out of the hospitals of WWI in concert with a host of other modern “therapies” particularly oriented to mental health conditions.

The panel following was a mix of papers considering contemporary efforts to document and safeguard the histories of diverse communities. All of these papers prioritized the role of the relevant communities in the process of creating and their own archive and developing its narrative. The first paper by Jennifer Jenkins used “tribesourcing” in the American Indian Film Gallery to allow American Indians to respond to the “voice of God” narratives that long characterized documentaries about their cultures. Rudolph Clay’s work at Washington University of Saint Louis has provided infrastructure for participants in the events following the Michael Brown shooting to share their digital media for archiving and preservation.

The last panel I attended before the closing keynote was rather fittingly on “digital innovation.” At it, I became absolutely enamored with the work being done by the UVA law library to digitally reconstruct the entirety of the 1828 catalog of law texts “purchased under the direction of Thomas Jefferson.” This unique way of building up a collection and making it digitally available will allow questions and analysis that would not otherwise have been possible. This is the type of project I would love to see replicated in other institutions with similarly important historical collections that may no longer be physically extant. Relatedly, the other individual presenting during this panel, Zack Linder-Katz, reminded us that digitization has a socially situated history, which it behooves us to consider as we watch digitally available materials grow in our libraries and archives.

While there were multiple sessions that I wish I had been able to attend, but was unable to due to scheduling conflicts, the one paper that nonetheless stuck with me was Eric Williams’s “Automating the Community: MARC Community Information Format and Changing Libraries in the 1990s.”  In it, Williams discussed a little known MARC standard from the 1990s which would allow libraries to catalog things like community groups during the time before the internet came into its own and made this format more or less obsolete. I spoke with Eric and found myself fascinated by this bizarre bit of trivia that reflected libraries at the cusp of the enormous changes that the past 20 years have brought and wishing I had been able to hear the full of his paper.

As Ann Blair situated the library in some of its traditions, David Weinberger’s closing keynote looked to the role of innovation in creating its future. “Culture is a network,” he posited, of connected people with connected ideas and meaning are the connections which matter. As such, meaning shall always be local. In his keynote he argued that while libraries may have been separated from this meaning in the past, the Internet has made it both possible and necessary for libraries to become an integral part of that meaning-making.

Megan Browndorf

LHRT Chair Appoints Co-Editors of New LHRT Journal

LHRT Chair, Dominique Daniel, appointed Eric Novotny and Bernadette Lear co-editors of LHRT’s new journal. Mr. Novotny is LHRT Chair-Elect and is the Acting Head Arts and Humanities Library and History, History of Science, and Middle East Studies Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University, University Park. Ms. Lear is Past-Chairperson of LHRT and is the Behavioral Sciences and Education Librarian at the Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg.

“Both are library history scholars with a strong publication record, and have demonstrated their commitment to LHRT and library history scholarship in more ways than one over the years. They will lead the efforts to build the structure and content of the new journal. I have no doubt that they will be successful in this important enterprise and extend to them all my thanks for taking on this responsibility,” Dr. Daniel posted on the LHRT listserv.

2015 Phyllis Dain Library Dissertation Award Winner

Dr. Barry W. Seaver, Chair of the Phyllis Dain Dissertation Award Committee, announces Miriam Intrator as the winner of the 2015 Phyllis Dain Library Dissertation Award for her dissertation, “Books Across Borders and Between Libraries: UNESCO and the Politics of Postwar Cultural Reconstruction, 1945-1951.”

According to Seaver, “Intrator received her doctoral degree in 2013 from the Graduate Faculty in History of the City University of New York. She is currently the Special Collections Librarian for the Ohio University Libraries. Her dissertation focuses on the response of UNESCO’s Library Section, in cooperation with other international, national and Jewish organizations, to the cultural and intellectual destruction suffered in Europe during WWII and their plans for postwar reconstruction regarding books, libraries, and archives. The dissertation offers original insights into the recovery of cultural life in postwar and post-Holocaust Europe and highlights the individuals who formulated the argument for access to books and libraries, to knowledge and culture, as a fundamental human right within the context of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The committee reviewed five other dissertations produced during the past two years.

Derek Attig, University of Illinois. “Here Comes the Bookmoblie: Public Culture and the Shape of Belonging” (2014)

Ann Bourne, University of Alabama. “Enriching the Collective Resources: An Historical Analysis of the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries, 1984-2009” (2013)

Su Kim Chung, UCLA. “We Seek to Be Patient: Jeanne Wier and the Nevada Historical Society, 1904-1950” (2014)

Elisabeth A. Jones, University of Washington. “Constructing the Universal Library” (2014)

Ellen Marie Pozzi, Rutgers University. “The Public Library in an Immigrant Neighborhood: Italian Immigrants’ Information Ecologies in Newark, NJ, 1889-1919” (2013)

Congratulations to Dr. Intrator for the award, and to the other scholars for their superb work and for adding to the body of knowledge in library history. Thank you Phyllis Dain Dissertation Award Committee for your hard work in reading through these excellent submissions and making the difficult decision of choosing a winner. Committee members include:

Barry W. Seaver (Chair, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Tanya Ducker Finchum (Member, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Tom P. Glynn (Member, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Mr. David Brett Spencer (Member, July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2015)
Rudolph Rose (Staff Liaison, July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2015)

The Library History Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA) sponsors the biennial Phyllis Dain Library History Dissertation Award. The award is offered only in odd-numbered years. The award, named in honor of a library historian widely known as a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar and thinker, recognizes outstanding dissertations in English in the general area of library history. Five hundred dollars and a certificate are given for a selected dissertation that embodies original research on a significant topic relating to the history of libraries during any period, in any region of the world.

2015 LHRT Edward G. Holley Memorial Lecture

Ezra Greenspan, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in Humanities, Southern Methodist University, will be the 2015 Holley Lecture speaker at the upcoming American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco. His presentation will address a key question in library history: Where do the lives of individuals, books and serials, archives, and libraries intersect?

The talk, The Lives of Persons, Printed Matter, and Institutions of Letters, will explore the intersections in the lives of nineteenth-century African Americans, a people for whom personhood, literacy, and access to institutions of letters was, on the one hand, contested by the white majority; and, on the other, essential for self- and community-formation.

When: June 28, 2015, 10:30-11:30am

Where: Moscone Center, San Francisco (Room TBA)

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Ezra Greenspan is Edmund J. and Louis W. Kahn Chair in Humanities and Professor of English, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. A literary and cultural historian, he writes and teaches about the history of print and digital culture in the United States. He was co-founding editor of “Book History” (active 1997-2014) and is the editor or author of various books, including biographies of G. P. Putnam and William Wells Brown, a finalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle award for biography.

Welcome from the newsletter editor

Hi. This is the first post to the new Library History Round Table’s (LHRT) blog, LHRT News. My name is Doug Campbell, the LHRT News Editor. I envision this to be a site to share information about people, events, and other relevant items related to the history of libraries and librarians. For the first post, I wanted to share a little bit about myself and how I “got into” library history.

 

dougwillis    Why do I love library history? I love libraries, that’s why. This is the first post of the new Library History Round Table’s blog, LHRT News, and I am proud to be it’s first editor. In the first post, I decided to take the opportunity to introduce myself and share a little bit of my interest in the history of libraries.

Looking back at my childhood through my undergraduate college years, I am an unlikely candidate to be an editor of a blog about libraries and their history, not to mention be a member of LHRT and the American Library Association. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I visited the public library in my small home town of Van Alstyne, Texas. I can count on the fingers of my other hand the number of times that I walked through the doors of the academic library at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, the oldest town in the Lone Star State. Except for comic books given to me by my grandmother, I wasn’t a big reader from adolescence through graduate school. It was not until graduate school, seminary actually, that the seed of interest in libraries and the services they provide was planted in me.

I entered Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California in 1994 with intentions to prepare to become an overseas missionary. A year later, I began working in the seminary’s library as a part-time circulation clerk. A year and half after that, through a series of fortuitous events, I was promoted to circulation supervisor, soon thereafter becoming the acting reference librarian, although I didn’t have a library degree. I worked in the seminary’s library for three years until I finished my master of divinity. While working in the library, the seminary librarians saw promise and potential in me as a professional librarian, encouraging me to consider library school. Although I enjoyed working in the library, I still had not given up on the idea of the ministry.

In 2000, I moved to Waco, Texas, and began working in the library at McLennan Community College, staying there for two years. It was in Waco that I decided to take the leap (of faith?) and attend library school. Again, the librarians encouraged me to consider a career in libraries and earn a master of library science. I visited the University of North Texas (UNT) to look into their library school. I met with Herman Totten who asked me why I wanted to become a librarian. I told him that enjoyed helping people find information. He said that was the perfect answer because too many librarians entered the profession because they like to read. It was then that I realized that librarianship is not unlike ministry in that they are both dedicated to serving others. I decided to go from a man of The Book to a man of all books, so to speak. I moved to Denton, Texas and began the MLS program at UNT in 2002, graduating in 2004.

It was in library school that I was introduced to ALA. I always had an interest in history, so I naturally began to look into the history of libraries. A LIS faculty member, Elizabeth Figa, told me about the LHRT and I began to dig around its web page. I enjoyed looking through the library history bibliographies, and began reading some of the articles and books listed. I discovered that studying library history was “a thing,” and that people actually did research in this area. I thought that was pretty cool. I began to discover and research figures and ideas in US library history such as William Ladd Ropes, librarian at Andover Theological Seminary from 1866-1905; Jennie Maas Flexner, librarian at the New York Public Library from 1929-1944; and economist, Alvin Saunders Johnson, economist and author of the A Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York on the Policy of Donations to Free Public Libraries  (1915) and The Public Library, A People’s University (1938). I also enjoy researching the history of the Library Bill of Rights, censorship in public libraries, and libraries as places.

My first involvement with LHRT was attending the ALA Midwinter meeting in Boston in 2010. I attended some lectures at the 2010 Annual Conference in D.C. that summer. I have attended the LHRT meetings and events in Anaheim (2012), Chicago (2013), and Las Vegas (2014), and the 2013 Midwinter meetings in Seattle. I have enjoyed getting to know library history researchers and fellow enthusiasts at these meetings and virtually. I am looking forward to meeting more of you and doing whatever I can to help spread the good news, dare I say gospel, of library history. Library history is an interesting history. It is as much, if not more so, about people than it is about the sharing of books and information. It is certain the story of the connection between people and information, and in between these two are librarians, a diverse and interesting group of people, of which I am proud to be a part.